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Super Bowl Champs Are Underdogs In Denver Again


Some things never seem to change.

The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions. They knocked the Broncos out on their way there.

Yet Baltimore is the underdog headed to Denver, just like in last year's AFC divisional round.

A look at varying betting odds for Thursday night's game* *has the Ravens ranging from 7 ½-point to 9 ½-point underdogs. Baltimore went into last year's playoff game as 9 ½-point underdogs.

Perhaps it's because the Ravens are largely a different team from last season. Or it's because they're the Ravens.

"There's something about the Ravens, something about us [that] we've always been underdogs," running back Ray Rice said.

"We don't mind that kind of stuff, because when you overcome it. We were never the perfect football team. We won a Super Bowl last year, but we were never the perfect football team. We just found ways to win games, and that's the kind of football team we are."

The Denver Broncos are widely regarded as the AFC favorites. As of Aug. 30, they had the second-best odds in the NFL at 6-1, only trailing the San Francisco 49ers. Baltimore is tied for 12th at 30-1.

"No, it doesn't surprise me at all," Rice said. "[The Broncos] got a Hall of Fame quarterback on that team. … It's a pretty favorable team, so much respect to them and what they've built over there."

The Ravens have been talking up the Broncos so far this week. And it's not hard to do considering the talent Denver has, especially on offense.

With the addition of Wes Welker, they have three receivers who topped 1,000 yards last season. And they have Peyton Manning throwing to them.

"They don't have a weakness, really, on their whole football team," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Quarterback Joe Flacco said he doesn't pay attention to the early-season odds. He said the Ravens didn't go into last year's divisional playoff game feeling like underdogs, and he doesn't feel that way in the rematch either.

"It's the first game of the year; nobody really knows what kind of teams people are," Flacco said. "We feel like we're good, we feel like they're pretty good, and yes, we're going to have to go play a good game. … We feel like we have a good team and our chances are always pretty good."

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